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A compensation is performance , particularly a cash benefit , which suffered to offset disadvantages or limitations will be provided. While the term compensation describes the civil law compensation for such losses that have arisen in private legal transactions, the term compensation is mainly understood to mean compensation for disadvantages caused by the public sector (see, however, compensation in tax law).


Whether and to what extent damage has to be compensated for depends on the nature of its occurrence. In general, however, the state can only expect a citizen to suffer an (economic) disadvantage if appropriate compensation is provided. For expropriation law provides for Art. 14 GG such a package deal before explicitly. In other cases, however, the state's obligation to pay compensation also follows from the basic idea of ​​property protection.

In a number of cases, separate laws regulate the question of compensation, such as the German Judicial Remuneration and Compensation Act (JVEG), which has replaced the former ZSEG ( Law on the Compensation of Witnesses and Experts ), or the Law on Compensation for Law enforcement measures (StrEG).

A special case discussed with great public interest was the question of the extent to which the Federal Republic of Germany or larger commercial enterprises owed compensation for forced labor during the time of National Socialism in addition to civil law compensation obligations (see: Foundation “Remembrance, Responsibility and Future” ).

Tax assessment

In the case of income tax, compensation payments are tax-favored.

  • In general, compensations that do not fall into any of the types of income are not subject to income tax at all . These include B. Compensation provided by an insurance company based on a private insurance contract and compensation for pain and suffering .
  • In addition, there are compensations that are exempt from taxation due to special exemption regulations: lump-sum payments due to statutory pension insurance, severance payments due to termination of the employment relationship initiated by or judged by the employer, as well as transitional allowances and transitional grants due to statutory provisions for dismissal from employment (limited by maximum amounts and only until December 31, 2005).
  • Tariff benefits are provided for certain types of compensation :
    • Compensation for lost or lost income - the non-exclusive but main area of ​​application is severance pay in labor law
    • Replacement for giving up or not performing an activity - e.g. B. Payments made by a competing company for the obligation not to carry out the previous activity.
    • Compensation for giving up profit sharing or entitlement to a profit
    • Compensation payments to commercial agents

Compensation between peoples

There are also compensations between peoples; they are then also called reparations . For example, after Iraq's attack on Kuwait in 1990 under Saddam Hussein , the United Nations set up a Reparations Commission. Iraq , which was later defeated by the US, paid Kuwait $ 34 billion from its oil revenues (as of July 2011).

See also


  • Wolfgang Schlick: The case law of the Federal Court of Justice on the public law compensation services - Public law compensation , NJW 43/2011, 3137 (note: previous articles in NJW 2009, 3139 and NJW 2009, 3487)

Individual evidence

  1. Rheinische Post: UN Agreement on Facilitation of Iraq , September 28, 2000.
  2. Frankfurter Neue Presse: Compensation for Kuwait attack ( memento of the original from September 20, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , August 12, 2011. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /

Web links

Wiktionary: Compensation  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations